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Carlos Tortolero, founder of Mexico’s National Museum of Art, will retire

The National Museum of Mexican Art announced Monday that its founder, President and CEO Carlos Tortolero will retire on Dec. 31.

He is stepping down after running the nationally and internationally recognized museum, located in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, for more than 40 years.

In the announcement, Tortolero said the museum was on solid ground with its board of trustees and long-time staff, making it the right time for him to leave. The board hired a search firm to help find his successor.

“What an amazing journey,” Tortolero said in part in a statement. “It was challenging but fun. I have always advocated that the museum should be located in Pilsen for greater community access and that admission should be free so that everyone can enjoy it. There were roadblocks and naysayers from the beginning. But look at us now!”

Tortolero I started the project This place became a museum in 1982. While working for Chicago Public Schools, he and fellow educators set out to establish a museum of Mexican art in Chicago. The then Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum It opened its doors in 1987 In a building owned by the Chicago Park District. In 2001, it expanded and opened exhibitions that toured around the country; six traveled to Mexico. Its permanent collection consists of approximately 20,000 pieces.

One of this museum’s most popular events, which always offers free admission, is its annual Día de Muertos exhibition, this year’s edition of which is open until November 30.

For more information: national museum ofmexicanart.org.

dgeorge@chicagotribune.com

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